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I welcome my right hon. and learned Friend’s question and his comments. Let me try to address them, if I may. He fears, if I understand correctly, that the Government are in favour of an unamendable motion, but in fact, as the memorandum he cites makes clear in paragraph 4:
“The approval…will be a substantive motion”— that was, I think, the first point he made—
“and therefore, under existing House procedures, will be amendable.”
I hope that gives him some reassurance. It is also worth pointing out the implications that we set out in paragraph 6 of the memorandum, which was published on
“due to the legal status accorded to the motion under s. 13 of the 2018 Act,” which I know he scrutinised very carefully,
“a clear decision on approval of the motion is needed in order for the Government to be able to ratify the Withdrawal Agreement.”
Again, I hope that that makes clear what the basic challenge is.
If I understand my right hon. and learned Friend correctly, he may wish to change the terms of the agreement that has been struck. I think that would come up against very real, practical and diplomatic obstacles. So late in the day, there would not be time to revisit the negotiation. Secondly, just from a practical, diplomatic point of view, is he really suggesting that at that point we would actually be offered different or more favourable terms? I think that that is unlikely in the extreme.
It is very important that this House is presented with a very clear decision of the most meaningful sort available, which is between the terms of the best deal that the Government can negotiate and the alternative. I hope and I am sure that that will focus minds when that point comes.